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Messages - Garnett

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Thanks for the replies. I like the idea of powdered onion and paprika. I reckon between them that should sort me out.

The chicken takes 25-30 mins and I plan to have the sauce done at/in the same time.

As I said, "I appreciate that a spice mix and some preprepared base sauce is pretty fundamental for true BIR results but for me it's impractical". We have very little freezer space which makes the making and freezing of a base isn't that practical.

PaulP - I could be wrong but I can't see how t he yoghurt in the chicken pot would make too much difference to the sauce colour. I could certainly try it without.

Chriswg - The reason I like to do the sauce and chicken separately is because to boil te chicken I imagine a sauce thinner than I like or get from a BIR. Is there a way round this?

Joshallen2k - I appreciate what you're saying - I really do, and I had hoped I'd stressed due deference to the 'Base' notion. I'm happy with the taste of my baseless recipe but just want help with the consistency and the colour - are these aspects solved by using a base?

BIR Main Dishes Chat / BIR Madras in 30 mins - Advice required!
« on: July 27, 2009, 05:01 PM »
I appreciate that a spice mix and some preprepared base suace is pretty fundamental for true BIR results but for me it's impractical and so I want to try and experiment to produce the most BIR-like curry I can in under an hour without any preprepared ingredients. And with that in mind the other day I attempted...

45 Min Chicken Madras Experiment 1


To produce a Chicken Madras without any prepreparartion using a easily repeatable method.


A thick sauce
A complex, spicy yet not over-hot taste



The chicken will be cooked separately to the sauce using the method described in Bruce Edwards' Curry House Cookery:-

Add about 5 oz of oil to a 4 litre cooking pot
Add two or three handfuls of finely chopped onions (to give a "layer" in the pot)
Add plenty of bay leaves (or curry leaves)
Add 3 or 4 peices of cinnamon
Add 5 or 6 Cardamoms
When Onion shows sgns of frying add tablespoon of garlic and ginger puree
Add tablespoon of yoghurt
Add half a tablespoon of tomato puree
Add 3 or 4 pinches of salt
Ingredients should be getting quite dry
Add half cup of water
Add rounded tablespoon of Rajah Hot Madras Curry powder
Add Chicken
Cover pot
Leave for 20 minutes

15 mins before the chicken is ready begin sauce

Sauce method

A mix of "Madras Curry" method from the book "Curry - Fabulous dishes from around the world" and "Kid Curry's Madras - with no base!" from CR0

Heat oil in saucepan
Add rounded teaspoon garlic paste and same of ginger paste
Fry 2 minutes
Add 2 onions finely chopped/blended
Add 2 pinches salt
Fry 5 mins
Add rounded tablespoon of Rajah Hot Madras Curry powder
Add Tomato puree and or blended tomato
Cook for 8 mins adding coconut milk to taste/thickness.

Variations in method:


Cooked chicken for 10 mins longer than should have


Only used 1.5 onions. 2 was clearly going to be too much.

Added half a tin of tomato puree, no blended tomato

Added approx half tin of coconut milk towards end of cooking


Chicken was perfect.

Sauce was too light in colour. Should have been redder. Spice level good. Taste very good but not BIR. Sauce too "bitty" - needs to be blended finely perhaps.


Possibly need to add less madras mix, and more paprika, chilli powder and/or tomato puree/blended tomatoes to attain correct redness.


Thanks for the replies.

I think you're right, Mick.

Jerry, the curry tastes very good which is why I've been sticking at it to try and sort out the problems. I'm going to cook it again in the next fortnight, so I'll post back on any changes and the results.

Having posted an excellent recipe from from "Curry - Fabulous dishes from around the world" I'm hoping someone out there might be able to help me with one that has promise but which just doesn't work. The photo of the "finished article" is amazing - A slightly red brown curried lamb with dry thick textured curry clinging to the individual chunks of lamb.

Here it is:

Kerala Lamb


3 tbsp vegetable oil
200g shallots, chopped
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
500g boned lamb, cubed

Spice Paste

100g grated or dessicated coconut (if you don't have a good food processor I'd use coconut milk instead)
2.5 piece ginger, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2.5cm cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
10 curry leaves
5 black peppercorns

For Tempering
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
2 green chillies, sliced


spice mix

Roast coconut with ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaves, curry leaves, and peppercorns in a dry pan until coconut brown. Allow to cool then grind in food processor, gradually adding 250ml water to make fine paste.

Heat the oil in frying pan. Add shallots. Fry for 5 mins or until soft. Add spice paste, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and 400ml (*1) water. Bring to boil. Add lamb. Reduce heat and cook covered for 30 mins (*2) or until lamb is well cooked.

Tempering Mix

In a separate frying pan, heat the oil, add mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop add curry leaves and green chillis. Stir fry for a minute.

Pour tempering mix over lamb and cook for 10 mins or until the curry is very dry and thick.(*3)

Now. My issues.

*1 This is a lot of water. There is no way this curry can be cooked till "very dry" in the times they state.

*2 I have made this twice and the lamb has been tough both times. I'm fairly confident it is not an meat quality issue.

*3 The curry I end up with is much darker and looks like something from the 70s/80s. Not very appetising.

So. Any ideas on how to sort this out?

It's supposed to be a traditional Indian curry but I'm thinking about pre-boiling the lamb, and halving the amount of water added.

This doesn't resolve the colour issue though.

Traditional Indian Recipes / Green Peas Pilau
« on: June 13, 2009, 11:24 AM »
I've been reading so many recipes on here in the last few days, I thought I better give something back. This is the best rice I've ever made.

This is a recipe from "Curry - Fabulous dishes from around the world" ISBN 9781405315722

I've found some of the recipes in there to be somewhat poor, but others are gems and overall I'd recommend the book.  This recipe is one such gem. The cooked rice has a wonderful delicate but delicious flavour and would lend itself to a similarly subtle curry so that its flavour is not missed.

Mutter Pulao - Green Peas Pilau


400g Basmati rice
75g ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cinnamon leaf or bay leaf
4 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 red onions finely sliced
100g frozen petit pois or peas thawed
1tbsp salt
10g mint leaves, shredded
10g coriandr leaves, chopped


Wash rice in cold running water, then soak in cold water to cover for 20-25 mins.
Heat ghee in a thick-bottomed casserole over a moderate heat and add the whole spices. When they start popping add the onions and fry until brown. Add peas and fry for 2-3 mins. Pour in 800ml water. Add salt, cover and bring to boil.

drain the rice and add to casserole. Cover and bring back to boil. Cook for 8-10 mins over a moderate/high heat, stirring occassionally and gently not to break rice grains.

When water is nearly absorbed and small holes appear in surface of rice, add mint and coriander. Cover tightly and cook for 10 mins on LOW heat.

Starters and Side Dishes Chat / Re: Best way to cook tikka?
« on: June 12, 2009, 02:57 PM »
Thanks for the replies. Think I'll try the "suspended above baking tray in oven" method first.

Thanks a lot Jerry.

You're right about trying different methods and recipes. What I have been struggling with is the vast amount of info on here. I thought a quick summary with examples would be helpful (and any replies would help me correct any of my mistaken assumptions).

In hindsight I think I should have just left the titles of my examples as links and not pasted the whole recipes. My emphasis should have been on giving an overview of the process, which is what I found hard to grasp initially.

Trainee Chefs / Beginners Questions / How do I cook a BIR curry?
« on: June 12, 2009, 07:51 AM »
I'm new here, and found the welcoming message I got when I joined very helpful. I still struggled to understand certain bits and pieces so I thought I'd post a synopsis of the general info I found which might help other newcomers. Please let me know if I've got anything wrong.

BIR (British Indian Restaurant) Curry
BIR curry differs from traditional Indian cuisine in some marked ways. A lot of the dishes are far removed from their traditional origins. For many people the BIR curry is exactly what they want to duplicate.
The standard BIR cooking method is pretty formulaic and somewhat different to other curry cooking methods. Reasons for this are largely to appeal to a British audience and to speed up the cooking process. In particular, the BIR method allows a restaurant to bring forward and standardise almost all of the work for any curry so that any curry can be made from one base sauce, one spice mix, and precooked meat with minimal final specific cooking to produce each different curry type.
1) Prepare a base sauce (also known as a gravy)

This is quite fundamental. BIRs predominantly have their own recipe for a base sauce which they then base all their curries on. There is often an element of secrecy about a restaurant's base sauce and spice mix (below). As a result, perfection of base sauce recipes form a large part recreating BIR curry at home. Once made this base can be frozen so it's worth making in batches.

Classic Example: Curry King's Classic Base Sauce

2) Make a spice mix.

This is a standard blend of spices to add to your curry. Garam Massala (from Urdu, garam, "hot" and masala "paste") is an example of a spice blend, and can be used instead of making your own, although general consensus is that a homemade blend is preferable. This can be stored like any other spice mix.

Classic Example: Bruce Edwards Spice Mix, posted by Curry King

3) Precook your meat

With the exception of meat cooked Tandoori style, generally this means boiling it in spices.  This can done days in advance then be refrigerated. This helps BIRs produce their curries in minutes "on the night".

Classic Example: Uncle Buck's BASE CHICKEN

4) Finish the curry

The final preparation which has to be carried out just prior to serving, and which turns the generic parts above into any final curry, be that vindaloo, madras, bhuna etc.

Classic Example: Bruce Edward's Madras Recipe (from Lorrydo)

Does that seem about right?

Starters and Side Dishes Chat / Re: Best way to cook tikka?
« on: June 11, 2009, 04:55 PM »
What's the best way, using only standard kitchen equipment?
In the bottom of your grill pan place some of those wood chips, then place under a very hot grill for around 5 minutes until they heat up and start to smoke a little, then add the skewered meat on top of the grill bit and cook for around 4 minutes each side.
I love it! There I was hoping for an easy way forward and you've told me to make a barbeque in my kitchen!

I'm starting to realise my limitations are not knowledge based, just commitment to the cause!

I love the idea, but I've got to come clean - I was hoping for a more straight-forward idea.

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